Dr. Robert A. Harrington, a cardiologist and the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, has been named the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University.
The appointment was approved by the Cornell Board of Trustees and the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Fellows. Dr. Harrington — also a member of the National Academy of Medicine — will begin his new position on Sept. 12.
A past president of the American Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Harrington has chaired Stanford’s Department of Medicine since 2012. He previously served as the Richard Sean Stack, M.D. Distinguished Professor and director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University.
“In addition to being an outstanding physician-scientist, Dr. Harrington is an energetic and proven leader, with a reputation for bringing people together to achieve shared objectives,” President Martha E. Pollack said. “I am looking forward to working closely with him as we continue to advance Weill Cornell Medicine’s mission as a world-class institution of patient care, scientific discovery and education of future health care leaders.”
The search committee, led by Pollack and Jessica M. Bibliowicz ’81, chair of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Fellows, included board members, faculty, alumni and senior administrators from Cornell, Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Harrington to New York,” Bibliowicz said. “He is the right person to guide Weill Cornell Medicine and maintain its incredible trajectory of growth. He is a proven leader, as well as a prolific and esteemed physician-scientist. We look forward to seeing Weill Cornell Medicine thrive under his leadership.”
Dr. Harrington, who grew up and attended college on the East Coast, is excited to be returning to his roots, although he terms the move as “bittersweet” after 11 years in Palo Alto, California.
“The opportunity to come to Weill Cornell Medicine was really extraordinary for us, professionally and as a family,” Dr. Harrington said. He and his wife, Rhonda Larsen, who’s also on the Stanford faculty, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren. “I’m excited to help shape an already-excellent academic medical institution into its next version.”
Dr. Francis Lee, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine, will remain as interim dean and provost for medical affairs until Dr. Harrington’s arrival in September. Lee has served as interim dean since Jan. 1.
“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Lee for his selfless service to our institution during his interim term,” Pollack said. “His leadership during this period of transition has been exemplary.”
A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, and a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Harrington graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English in 1982 from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree in 1986 from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, followed by a residency in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Harrington completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, where he became a faculty member in 1993 and led clinical research efforts until 2012, when he joined the Stanford faculty.
His research interests include evaluating antithrombotic therapies to treat acute ischemic heart disease and to minimize the acute complications of percutaneous coronary procedures. His passion for cardiology is, in part, personal: His mother died of a sudden cardiac event at age 42, during his senior year at Holy Cross.
In 2016, he was named a Master of the American College of Cardiology. He was awarded the AHA’s Clinical Research Prize in 2017 and AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD) Distinguished Achievement Award in 2022. In 2022, he was awarded the Stokes Medal from the Irish Cardiac Society.
Harrington serves on the AHA board of directors, and served as AHA president in 2019–20. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the Association of University Cardiologists.
Committed to training and mentorship, Dr. Harrington has served as the principal mentor for more than 20 postdoctoral clinical research fellows.
The author of more than 760 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, book chapters and editorials, Dr. Harrington has also served as a member and chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee.
Dr. Harrington is enthusiastic about using technology to spread useful information on health and medicine; he is active on Twitter and hosts a podcast for practitioners, “The Bob Harrington Show.” His most recent podcast was titled “AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare for the Clueless.”
Dr. Harrington said Weill Cornell Medicine represents a “unique opportunity.”
“It’s part of an outstanding university,” he said. “It’s a job with scope — the research, the education and also the faculty clinical practice. It’s got an international presence, with a medical school in Qatar and other global programs. And it’s partnered with a phenomenal medical center, NewYork-Presbyterian. I couldn’t be more excited about joining Weill Cornell Medicine.”